View Full Version : Looking for hackneyed RPG plots

Mad Maudlin
2009-01-26, 06:41 AM
So, I'm looking at starting a new campaign in a quasi-clockpunk, semi-modernist, half high fantasy, half renaissance urban setting. I'm planning to start at level one and keep going until the players grow tired of exploring the world (I do have an endpoint in mind, but my gaming group has yet to reach level eight in any one campaign, soÖ)

Long story short, I've come up with an interesting first adventure to start this campaign. I've always struggled, as player and DM, at coming up with a reason for the party to decide to wander into dungeons and split whatever they find there. The cold open (You already know each other, and now you're standing at the dungeon's front door) and the tavern open both seemed like a copout, and our group finds roleplay difficult enough, without having practically nothing to go on.

So, my solution was this- "So who wants to be an adventurer?" In the grand spirit of shows like Ninja Warrior and Knightmare, someone in the campaign's home city came up with a way to capitalise on all the stories told by passing adventurers. I figure the contestants have to enter in traditional adventuring parties, or something that approaches traditional, and are then put through toned-down versions of popular adventuring scenarios. The format of the show is simple enough - earn points by completing the timed 'quests', then you get to go through a dungeon crawl at the end where the points determine how (long you have? Many monsters you fight? Havenít decided yet), and the loot from the crawl is the prize. Given the setting, I can justify the proprietors having clockwork recording equipment (What? It works by magic!). Iím deliberately making it more "Crystal Maze" than "Gladiators", except that, instead of a locked door and the presenter announcing you 'dead', you get a knife in the eye socket and a free Raise Dead later on.

Thing is, I can't think what the timed quests should be. One of them is rescuing a princess sitting behind a man in a dragon suit, but that's where I run out of ideas. Any suggestions?

Tempest Fennac
2009-01-26, 06:45 AM
You could have them finding hidden artifacts or guarding trade caravans. Would the free Raise Dead still cause Con or level loss?

2009-01-26, 10:59 AM
Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonlance) ya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan) go (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Eddings). More hackneyed phoning-it-in than you can shake a stick at. In fact, just skip the lot and read Tough Guide to Fantasyland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tough_Guide_To_Fantasyland) (the deconstruction of high fantasy novels) instead. :smallamused:

If you want to do "D&D Crystal Maze" though, the Challenge of Champions series of articles from Dungeon magazine should suit you. They were basically puzzles that required player ingenuity and lateral thinking rather than POWAAAAH!.

Totally Guy
2009-01-26, 12:18 PM
My solution to that problem of "how do I form the party?" was written into the premise of the campaign.

The premise was "BBEG wants to turn a town into an MMORPG".

But then for that plot to make sense I had to rewind and add the players early thus creating the same problem. I started the campaign with a party member's birthday and the character had all shown up through that.

The party became "the Birthday Party".

2009-01-26, 12:31 PM
They answer an ad for their local equivalent of the "Devry Institute" where they are teaching a one week course on dungeon crawling and monster killing. The price is only a few silver. They meet up as class mates.

A washed up instructor gives lectures on 10' wide stone corridors. They go through a little maze made of crates, they stab hay bales with pictures of orcs on them etc. Another instructor talks about monsters and how to divide up treasure. Some low level wizard casts a few cheap o spells and everyone is mildly impressed. A thief shows off his inept pick pocket skills and demonstrates trap detection with a rusty old bear trap.

At the end they get a "certificate" that allows them to be hired as met at arms by local adventurers and a free 10' pole with continual light cast on the end of it. They end up after class hanging out in the part of town where adventurers hire men at arms.

The are approached by a man in a cloak....